By: Lauren Perrodin

If you weren’t aware, the Supreme Court rolled back Affirmative Action, an Executive Order passed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965. It was a policy that was enacted to ensure equal opportunity for all in the workplace and education. It meant that someone’s race, religion, sex and national origin were taken into account during the hiring or admissions process.

In 2023, however, it was ruled that this policy should no longer be part of college admissions.

Why was the ruling made?

The policy was made to support the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was created to eliminate discrimination across all public and private institutions and spaces. Even though the policy wasn’t largely adopted by all entities right away, institutions were penalized when the organization clearly wasn’t meeting quotas.

Now, however, the Court decided that the policy was outdated, and that race-based affirmative action programs violated the 14th Amendment of the Equal Protection Clause. This clause forbids racial discrimination of any entity receiving money from the government or other federal organizations. This means that qualified people of any race should have equal opportunity no matter if they’re non-white or Caucasian.

While a student may not be admitted into a school solely for their qualifications and race, the student can write about how their race influenced their character, if relevant to their college admissions essay. Chief Justice John Roberts says the student “must be treated based on his or her experiences as an individual — not on the basis of race.”

The ruling also noted that Harvard and the University of North Carolina penalized non-people of color by not allowing them into the school if there were fewer Black Indigenous people of color admissions. The Students for Fair Admissions is led by Edward Blum, a conservative affirmative action opponent that challenged what it means to be non-discriminatory in today’s world. He ascertained that race and bigotry happen long before college admissions. This leaves us with the question, “How can educators focus more on ensuring equal opportunities for all students?” The answer begins in early education.

Educators Have the Ball

Educators can make a difference today in their students’ futures. Awareness of the problem is helpful, but action can change the successes and failures of your students. You can help to support people of color in your classroom with the right curriculum, support and encouragement.

For example, enrichment programs in early education can carry an individual through high school. Kindergartners learn through play, imagination and peer collaboration. Teachers can better help facilitate skills development in the classroom, and support gifted students to begin studying at a higher level. As outlined by JetLearn, enrichment activities for kids can range from storytelling and arts to social skills and music lessons.

Enrichment classes help continue education after school is out, and can improve a child’s mental and physical health — breaking the knowledge barrier. Not every child has guardians that are available at home to help them work through homework or develop their skills. Afterschool programs can level the playing field and ensure all kids are developing skills they’ll need to succeed like problem-solving and critical thinking.

The new California Mathematics Framework noted that many students begin to fall behind in middle school once they reach more difficult math concepts. Early childhood education helps build confidence in all students’ ability to succeed in school and across all subject areas.

Educators could go back to school to learn how to support advanced students — and cultivate more challenging lesson plans to help young students get ahead. UCR University Extension offers an Early Childhood Education professional certificate program that improves your ability to teach young learners, and promote sound, well-structured skills development. It’s a 36.50-unit program that’s available online and with live sessions.

UCR University Extension’s Stance

UCR has always been and remains a nondiscriminatory institution, and this ruling will have little impact on admissions here. For more information on our response to the ruling, take a look at the announcement given by Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox.